New Drummer Puppet for Adobe
I am very proud to present my first puppet for Adobe’s Puppet Maker, a new spin-off from their Oscar-winning software Character Animator.
I had been working with Character Animator for a few years for clients like Intel, HP, and Microchip, and had also been developing Zambonja in my own time in 2020. Zambonja is my own animated cartoon band projected on a 6ft tall screen, that I accompany on live drums and percussion, looking for gigs as a solo act. While covid continued to spin off variants, Zambonja has still yet to start gigging, but in the meantime, Adobe took note and commissioned me to produce more musicians, beginning with a totally interactive and midi triggerable animated drummer! It’s awesome. By far the most advanced animated project I've worked on and the results are way beyond my imagination.
The genius behind this new puppet template is that it is designed with so many variables, that the user can create just about any kind of character to suit any need. Skin color, hair style, color, face shape, eye color, clothing color, accessories, make-up, and a variety of playable drum kits. I even made sure that all my favorite drummers were included in the variables. There is a wonderful “randomize” button that automatically generates seemingly infinite characters too. (I think the character options run into the tens of thousands). The idea is that anyone can use this puppet to make their own animations, make it talk, and react in real-time to a webcam which detects the motion of the user's eyes, mouth, eyebrows, shoulders, and body, (they can even walk, though my drummer sits permanently, lol).
Once the user generates a final character out of Puppet Maker, (much like an “avatar” in a pc/video game), they then open the puppet in Character Animator where it can be fully animated.
My next step is to develop Zambonja not more of an enrichment musical experience, mixing infographics, motion graphics, and fun information with music and the animated band interacting with a live audience and myself, producing musical presentations about various subjects, especially for eco-travel. I already have two sets of music prepared, one is music influenced by African and Latin American music, with information and factoids about the countries, culture, and composers of the music, performed by small simple trios of cartoon musicians. The second set is more uptempo, with a full 12-piece band playing danceable bilingual music with an emphasis on world music and percussion, my particular passion, which earned me a couple of Grammy nominations while I played with Brothers of the Baladi.
Combining my musical skills with forty years of marketing, education, journalism, and science, along with a lifetime of living in the tropics, Europe and America, I seek to produce a new type of animation experience that both educates and entertains.